Normally, we speak of “counting our blessings” when considering the many good things with which we have been blessed. But for many of us privileged to live in areas where those good things are abundant, “calculating our blessings” with the help of an adding machine or calculator may be more appropriate!
In fact, perhaps the analogy is one that holds true for all of us. This is because when it comes to looking at the blessings we have been given, it is very human for us to look around at what we have in the here and now. Yet when we look back and consider the blessings we have enjoyed over time, for so many of us the numbers begin to require calculating help.
Our perspective begins to change when we realize that many of the things we may take for granted are only occasionally enjoyed by a large percentage of Earth's population. Think, for example, of the statistic that if we can afford to eat three meals a day for three weeks in a row, we are among the top 15% of the richest people in the world. Even if they are not starving, we should realize that the majority of people in this world do not get food all the time. But if we take our three meals a day, getting out a calculator and multiplying that number by the number of days in our lives might help us better realize the number of blessings in our lives – in that one area alone.
But the same truth applies in so many areas. The doctor’s and dentist’s visits we may grumble about having to fit into our schedules seem different when we realize the very occasional access so many have to medical or dental care – if they have it at all. If we have a steady job, the number of days for which we get paid adds up quickly compared to those without or unable to work – time for the calculator again. And what about the gift of life itself? The resting human heart beats some 60-80 times per minute. If we try to multiply that rate by a day, a year, or our lifetime so far, we definitely need that calculator.
And so we could go on. But the point we are talking about here is obvious enough. For those of us in the United States who wish to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with a genuine spirit of thankfulness, we should remember to look further than only at the blessings that surround us on the Thanksgiving table. Sometimes we look around in times of economic downturn or other problems and feel less thankful because we only see the things we have now when we should perhaps try to look more at the blessings we have been given all the way to this point, and the many more that we trust lie ahead.
Perhaps it would be good, as we take stock of what God has given us on the Day of Thanksgiving, to do a little math regarding any one of the ongoing blessings we enjoy. We don’t really need to get out a calculator to try to add up the huge numbers of blessings we all have received, but then again, I may put a calculator on the table this Thanksgiving meal – just to remind myself that if I tried to add up all those blessings I would need it.